Directed by Kenneth Branagh
USA 2007

 

In his radical overhaul of Anthony Shaffer’s play (and a 1972 film), Harold Pinter (the Nobel-laureate playwright famous for spare dialogue and long, meaningful pauses) turns Shaffer’s gaudy, meandering curiosity into a fascinating and tension-filled character study.

In Shaffer’s plot, a mystery writer convinces his wife’s young lover to fake a break-in of the writer’s house for an insurance scam; when the younger man accedes, the writer turns the tables on him. Pinter takes those bones and builds around them from the ground up. The result is a cat-and-mouse game ten times as menacing as the rather campy original. Caine, who played young Milo in ’72, graduates to the role of the author; unlike Laurence Olivier’s hammy take, his Andrew Wyke is authentically sadistic and pitiable. Law gets the ultimately showier role (we won’t spoil it by saying more) and displays surprising range.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 30th, 2007 - Venice Film Festival

Reviews       More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC
Rating:

Runtime 1:28:30 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.56 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) 
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Kenneth Branagh + Michael Caine
• Commentary by Jude Law
• Featurette: A Game of Cat and Mouse - Behind the Scenes of Sleuth
(15:00)
• 
Featurette: Inspector Black: Make-up Secrets Revealed (2:33)
• Previews

DVD Release Date: March 11th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

Comments:

Aside from some unusual edge-shimmering this SD treatment from Sony is certainly adequate for standard home viewing. Contrast and shadows look exceptionally good with occasional blue tinted color-coding lighting. I expect the Blu-ray might be quite spectacular impressing with some of the lavish decor scenes inside the mansion but other than that I wouldn't think the film rates an upgrade to watch in 1080 resolution. This SD represents the film very well as the screen captures below should indicate. The 5.1 audio is never really tested with such a dialogue driven script but the sound is still clear and consistent throughout on this DVD. It is supported by English, French or Spanish subtitles. This DVD is dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive - it is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.

The supplements include two full commentaries - the first with Caine and Branagh and it is quite laid back but has some decent information. There are a few gaps but fans may get some enjoyment out of hearing the two powerhouses comfortably chat. I particularly enjoyed when they talked about the original film. The second has Jude Law alone and aside from a few gaps he holds his own, repeating some information, but imparting other details about the make-up and subtle changes to the script. There are also two featurettes for those not ambitious enough for the commentaries. The first A Game of Cat and Mouse - Behind the Scenes of Sleuth runs 15 minutes long and has input from all the principles - Caine, Branagh, Law and Pinter. Probably too short for more than a gloss-over but for some that may be enough. The second deals with the extensive make-up utilized - it is entitled Inspector Black: Make-up Secrets Revealed but only lasts about 2 1/2 minutes.

The film? - I was ready to enjoy and although it falls short as the entire world now knows the 'twist' I sat back with a healthy scotch and it both kept me on edge and amused me at times. Sometimes its great just to see professionals practicing their craft. It definitely has some merits but I think its best though to keep your expectations rather low. This DVD is a very worthwhile way to view the film.    

Ohh... watch for, writer, Harold Pinter as 'the man on the tellie'.

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus


 


Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!